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Super Handyman: New life for old garden tools

I’m not against buying new garden tools, but sometimes you just want to fix the ones you have rather than do so. This past birthday, Mom gave me Dad’s old garden fork. I wouldn’t trade it for a dozen new tools! Whatever the reason, you can fix most old ones with some simple tools and basic skills, so give it a shot. It’s kind of fun.

The most common problem is a broken handle. You can buy a new one at the home center or hardware store and replace the old one. I, personally, prefer a wooden or fiberglass handle, and they aren’t too expensive. Use a chisel or screwdriver to remove the old rivet or screw holding the damaged handle in place. You also can drill or grind out an old rivet.

If you need to sand it or shave it down a little to make it fit better, do so. If you heat it a little bit, maybe with a hair dryer, you will dry it out and, when it’s fit into place, it will tighten up.

When you insert the new handle, do so with the grain of the wood facing the front and back of the blade (the rings should be on the side). Tap the blade on the ground to drive the handle all the way into place. Drill a new hole into the wood and use a wood screw to attach it to the blade.

Some tools use a metal wedge to keep the handle on tight, so make sure you keep that wedge and use it to tighten the handle into place.

Sharpening the blade is another thing that you can do to give your garden tools more life. A shovel can cut through even heavy clay like butter once it’s sharp. A metal file or rotary tool is all you need to take care of this chore. Keep it cleaned and oiled when not in use and it will stay sharp. If you take care of your garden tools, they will take care of you when you need them. Can you dig it?

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Q: I noticed that we are having a moisture problem in our attic. It’s worse in the summer but is there in wintertime, too. What can we do to get rid of it and keep it from coming back? – K.P.

A: Check your existing ventilation. Are your vent fans working as they should? If not, lubricate them. Check your soffet vents to make sure they are still allowing air into your attic. Clear insulation off of them if they are blocked and add baffles if you need to keep them open. If you need to add vents, do so. You can add simple passive vents very easily. You could replace a passive vent with a powered vent. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. In most cases, if you are switching from passives to a powered vent, you will need to reduce the number of vents.

A super hint

I use dry shampoo on my pets during the winter. I just pour a box of cornstarch into a shallow baking dish and warm it up just a little. Then mix it with a quarter-cup of baking soda and rub it into their hair, down to the skin and leave it on for a few minutes. Then brush or comb it out. Cleaner and less smelly, without getting the chills!

Shoptalk

Dry-erase boards have several advantages over bulletin boards or chalkboards. Krylon now has a Dry Erase Clear Spray Paint to instantly make any surface into a dry-erase board. You can use dry-erase markers to write, erase and rewrite just about anywhere. And since it’s clear, you can put it over a wide variety of surfaces of any color. It’s fast and easy, too. To find out more, visit any hardware store or home center that sells Krylon, or visit www.krylon.com and see it for yourself.

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit www.thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.